Directors’ Joe and Anthony Russo, and script writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have crafted not only the best Marvel movie to date, but easily one of the most memorable Super Hero films in history. Where Batman v Superman promised us a battle between two legendary icons, and then sadly did not deliver, Civil War does so in spades, and then some.
There is a strong sense of growth and maturity to this film that the Russo’s have brought us, while still making it feel faithful and familiar to the tone of the prior Marvel films. The storytelling and the process of making these films has certainly advanced a great deal since the first Iron Man movie eight years ago. Marvel has had an almost impeccable track record with these films, so expecting them to stray from that is pretty hard to imagine, but the Russo’s have found a way to stick to that path while still allowing the movie to take some big risks. By the time the credits end, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is left in a far more interesting place than where the movie began, and that is a huge achievement.
There are so many scenes in this movie that are crafted with an insane amount of planning and care that it boggles the mind. Each and every component to this movie is executed with an incredible amount of precision. That table in the apartment? It’s exactly where it needs to be, the planes in the airport? Parked where they should be. The airport scene, which has been a much talked about moment in the film is everything you want it to be and more, as it may just be the most entertaining moment so far in the MCU. Even the smaller more personal scenes are just a joy to watch that nearly every minute of this film is captivating. I was incredibly impressed down to the small character moments, mannerisms and subtly that each character maintained throughout the film. Newcomer T’Challa, The Black Panther, seemed to have his own particular way of moving and fighting that felt both fresh and original, while also feeling like it belongs here. There are some fantastic ideas that are on display that allow the characters to use their powers or weapons, or suits, in new and interesting ways.
Newcomers Tom Holland and Chadwick Boseman, Spider-Man and The Black Panther, respectively, feel as though they have always been part of the MCU. While some people have questioned why there is yet another Spider-Man reboot, it makes total sense to create a version that meshes so well with the cast and world that is present in these films. This version of Spider-Man is extremely talkative, nervous, excited and just perfect. Holland is remarkable as Peter, and his scene without the costume is proof alone that the future of the Spider-Man franchise is in good hands with Marvel and Sony. Many people don’t know this, but Robert Downey Jr is one of the reasons that Tom was cast as Spider-Man. I am a massive Spider-Man fan and I was beyond pleased with this version of the character and seeing him interact with Iron Man and Captain America is a dream come true. Boseman, as T’Challa, The Black Panther, is calm and collected, but brutal and savage. The actor from ’42’ and ‘Get on Up’ is so good in this role that my excitement for The Black Panther movie is now through the roof. A great deal of care was given to introduce this character and his world for the first time on film. Boseman has some strong emotional moments in the film and will be a much bigger presence in future films for sure.
First and foremost, this is a Captain America movie, and it just happens to be packed full of many characters, some Avengers, and some not, at least yet. Chris Evans as Steve Rogers is the focal point of the movie and gives his best performance yet as the titular Captain. Robert Downey Jr is back as Tony Stark and it is interesting to see where Robert has taken the character over the course of eight years playing the role. Any scene between Tony and Steve is wonderful, tense and the two have a great chemistry together. Downey brings Tony to a point where he feels like he has this big weight on his shoulders, that being under check and being held accountable is his way to own up for the damage that has resulted in the past, with those he couldn’t save. The battle between the two, both with fists and their words are some of my favorite moments in the film.
The Russo’s have a delicate balance here between each of the supporting cast with giving them each a big moment, some who have a bigger moment than others. There is also a nice evolution of what has transpired for certain characters since the events of Age of Ultron. Many characters in this film have a solid conviction to why they should be on each side, and rooting for one side throughout the whole film is a hard thing to do as there are great moments here that you, as a viewer, will have a tough time trying to decide who is right. The previous Avengers movies, and previous solo films, have a direct impact on the story, motivations, and consequences here that are painstakingly apparent throughout most of this film.
There is one part of the film that didn’t measure up to the brilliance of the entire movie, and that is Helmut Zemo, the film’s villain. While he does have a few scenes that set up important parts of the movie, he didn’t have as much of an impact as I was expecting. Marvel has had a problem in their movies with creating a very fleshed out and iconic villain, with Loki being the only strong contender for anything worthwhile from the side of evil in these films. Zemo, a Captain America villain from the comics, isn’t handled as well here and comes off as a bit of a throw away character.
Captain America: Civil War is just as superb with its action elements as it is with its more human moments. The Russo brothers have stated that it is hard to classify the Marvel movies as any particular genre, and they are right. This movie dances around being part political thriller, action movie, drama and if you’ve seen any of the previous Marvel movies, part comedy. There are so many laugh out loud moments in this film that you can’t help but have a good time. The inclusion of The Black Panther and Spider-Man is natural, organic and fits well within the framework of this shared cinematic universe. Civil War is a fantastic intersection of that collective universe and has only made the world these characters inhabit that more interesting. The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in good hands with Kevin Feige and the Russo brothers’ as the team is currently putting together the Avengers: Infinity War movies and I couldn’t be happier.
Check out Part 2 of our Review HERE